NICHOLAS CODDINGTON teaches history and contemporary world affairs at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, Washington. Prior to his teaching career, Nick served as an officer in the U.S. Army. His experience working with humanitarian operations in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and South West Asia inspired him to make the world a better, safer place. In his first year of teaching, Nick knew he wanted to use the Holocaust as a way for his students to learn about bias, violence, ethics, and history. But when he found that the standard curriculum marginalized the Holocaust to a single paragraph, he began building from scratch a dynamic Holocaust curriculum. He introduced his students to survivors, liberators, and hidden children. He took students to Los Angeles to visit the Museum of Tolerance. Each experience offered students a chance to determine how they would have made these decisions themselves. In 2006, Nick expanded his program to include Armenia, Kulaks, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur. He wanted his students to see that the pattern of injustice is not isolated and that atrocities can happen anywhere if injustice goes unchecked. Although Nick could see his students beginning to understand how intolerance and indifference can lead to tragic events, he also saw they needed a more personal experience to make these lessons real. Nick worked closely with a fellow teacher in Poland to design a Holocaust Remembrance Week. Nick’s students and 120 teens from across Europe gathered in Europe for a ten-day exchange program. Together, they visited the death camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek and became the next generation to vow to never forget. During the fall of 2007, their new Polish friends stayed in the homes of Nick’s students, spoke to the Tacoma community, and were a part of Nick’s history and culture curriculum that reached the entire school. Charles Wright Academy has now embraced the program and now includes the exchange trip in its annual budget. In Nick’s latest project, his students interview and write the oral histories of Holocaust survivors, liberators, and rescuers. These stories will be organized in a book to be used by students and teachers throughout the United States.
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